Mothering is a wonderful vocation, no doubt about it.
One of the reasons it's so wonderful, is that it's so
awesome. As in 'a huge responsibility'. It's no wonder
that some days, we moms just feel as if the world's on
our shoulders--and seriously weighing us down.
If that describes you more often than you want, take
heart! What follows are some simple things you can do to
bump up the joy meter on more of your days and what to
do when the days are not joy-filled at all.
First, it helps to recognize the reasons for your
--If you have very small children, say, still in preschool,
you have an exhausting job. When you're tired, you're
tired! Plus tiny tots don't offer a lot of intellectual
stimulation, and, yes, you need that!
--Are your children older? Even teenagers? Well then,
you've been at this mothering work for some time, haven't
you?! This kind of frustration is also about exhaustion
- even burn-out - but of a different kind. You, my fine
- woman, have been in the trenches for a long time and
- you need serious uplifting. This can be done!
--Perhaps you're a mom who's afraid you've gotten in
over your head. Way over. First, relax. Take a deep
breath. I'm going to tell you a little secret that's
really helped me through-out the years: we're ALL in
over our heads when it comes to parenting! What? You
don't feel better? I'm telling you that you have MASSIVE
support out here, sister! You're not in this parenting
thing alone, not by a long shot! Help is readily
Now let's tackle these frustrations one-by-one.
--Know yourself. Take a look at your own personality. If
you have preschoolers and you worked outside the home
until they arrived, maybe it secretly surprised you that
those little bundles of joy don't automatically fulfill
your every heart's desire. Well, they're not supposed to
and what's more, they're not equipped to. Stay-at-home
doesn't mean having no outside life! If you're spending
too much time at home find a play group or mommies & me
group to join (try local churches, libraries, park 'n'
rec facilities, the YMCA) or start one of your own. I
guarantee if you're feeling frustrated by spending ALL
day (and night!) at home with your toddlers, so are other
moms. Get together a group (no matter how small) and
rotate meeting at each others' homes, at your church, at
parks, at the local fast food play-lands! I started a
play group when my kids were young and a Mom's Night Out
even grew from it. We all benefited royally! And so did
--Maybe what you really crave is more time alone. Again,
find another mom who is in the same boat and trade
baby-sitting services once a week, freeing each of you
to go do whatever you like for a morning or an
afternoon. Maybe Dad can take over for an entire
evening once a week or an hour each evening. The
important thing is to persevere and find an outlet for
yourself. Your little ones really do need you so you
really MUST take care of yourself!
--If your children are older, such as pre-teens and
teenagers, you probably have a different set of
frustrations. As a conscientious person, you've been
taking these parenting responsibilities seriously for
a very long time. Absolutely you're tired, but you
probably need more than a morning off. Try to aim for
a regular weekend away to really clear your head and
gain perspective. Trade baby-sitting/supervising your
children with another family who also needs time off
occasionally. Finding an older woman who has already
been there and done that can be extremely beneficial.
Ask her to share her parenting wisdom with someone who's
still in the trenches. You.
--If your children's behaviors are what are bothering you,
then you definitely need to take action. Decide that
whatever the problem is, the solutions will be found in
facing it, not in hiding from it. Find out the facts,
assess your possibilities, think through the consequences,
find professional help if you need it. And remember,
families are all about working through the hard times.
Your child needs to see this part of life modeled, too.
--And another thing...have you been developing yourself over
the years as diligently as you've been developing your
children? You need growth for all the same wonderful
reasons you work to ensure your kids' growth. If you've
deprived yourself of that health, the time to renew is
now. Start--or re-create--a hobby. Schedule the time and
money for it! Join a group or club of adults in an area
of interest you always wanted to check out. Service to
others is also a serious stress-buster, so volunteer your
time at something worthwhile. Involve your children in
volunteerism with you and you've got a family hobby that
can't be beat.
--And last but for sure not least, have you tried some of
these simple solutions and yet still your frustration
level grows? When times get genuinely tough, don't make
the mistake of running from your frustrations. That
includes excessive drinking, too much TV watching, or
over-doing going out with the girls. These kinds of
activities will only make your heart more miserable in
the long run. If you feel genuinely trapped even after
trying some of these solutions, then it's time to find
a professional to talk it all over with. Again, you and
your family deserve you to be healthy.
Try to look at frustrating feelings like the call to
action they really are. With a little detective work on
your part followed by the appropriate actions, you'll be
amazed at how much control over your emotions you can
gain. And that's something you can really feel good about!
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother, artist, and entrepreneur who offers artistic gift and décor solutions to busy people at http://www.paintedgold.com. Check out her FREE creative tips newsletter at http://www.paintedgold.com/NewsIntro.html
Submitted by: Colleen Langenfeld *
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